Ropen Only Extinct on Wikipedia

Last month, the “Ropen” page was deleted on Wikipedia, apparently with the aid of self-appointed editors, one of whom carelessly deleted a valid entry that would have saved that page from deletion. Nevertheless, one online dictionary has maintained that page, or one very similar to it:

Ropen in an online encyclopedia

On Umboi Island the word “ropen” refers to a large nocturnal creature that glows briefly as it flies. The ropen is the subject of folklore (like a man but also like a spirit) but it’s believed by some natives to be a real animal.

“TheFreeDictionary” is not without problems in the page on ropens. It displays a conservation status (“Vulnerable” with listing “IUCN 3.1”), but the International Union for Conservation of Nature does not show anything online with the word “ropen.” I find the online encyclopedia reference to “vulnerable” interesting but it can be misleading: The ropen is still a cryptid (as of early September, 2014), not officially listed as a living species in biology text books and other resources in biology.

Regarding the definition of “ropen,” that encyclopedia-dictionary quotation is outdated. In my nonfiction Searching for Ropens and Finding God, it is defined thus: “A modern pterosaur with Rhamphorhynchoid characteristics.”

Food for the Ropen (quoting from the appendix of that book)

In the summer of 2007, in clear daylight, a giant ropen appeared to be chasing a flock of birds over a wildlife sanctuary near the University of California at Irvine. That may relate to the two “dragons” reported in California newspapers in 1891, creatures that were also called “pterodactyls.” They were reported to have devoured mudhens in a pond “at two or three champs of the jaws.”

Danger to Humans

Although Marfa Lights in Texas have been occasionally reported to be friendly, a large ropen, in some areas of this planet, would love to take you out, to eat. According to Gerald McIsaac, author of Bird From Hell, people have been attacked in northern British Columbia, sometimes killed, by flying creatures he believes are modern pterosaurs. I’ve read his book and communicated with him for years, and I’ve come to believe he may be right.

Where do Ropens Nest?

In his book Bird From Hell, McIsaac reports a nest encounter in British Columbia. A teenage girl had hiked up a hill alone one summer day and found a large nest with about twenty eggs. As she was about to pick up one of them, a strange creature attacked her, and she ran down the hill and escaped. I read nothing about wings on that creature, but McIsaac believes it was a pterosaur.


Sep12, 2014, encyclopedia entry for "Ropen"“Encyclopedia-TheFreeDictionary” entry for “Ropen” (Sep 15, 2014)



Ropen Pterosaur

Many species of pterosaur may have  become extinct, but at least a few of the  two main types have survived. They are  sometimes called “pterodactyls,” “flying  dinosaurs,” “dinosaur birds,” or “dragons.”

Ropen – a Modern Pterosaur

Not only natives have seen this “dragon”  or “pterodactyl” in Papua New Guinea. In  1971 (when the islands were known as  “New Guinea”), the Brian Hennessy, of  Australia, witnessed something strange on  the island of Bougainville: a long-tailed  flying creature that had not a feather in  sight.

Ropen Light Sighting

“My sighting was so quick that it was impossible to get a video—maybe 2 seconds  . . . almost golden and shimmering around the edges. . . . There was no tail and it was flying horizontal from  Mt. Barik toward  Mt. Tolo [on Umboi Island in 2004, a few weeks after the Whitcomb-Paina expedition in that same area of Papua New Guinea].”



Biology Professors and Living Pterosaurs

The biology professor who is a critic of reports of modern pterosaurs made it clear: “The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.” I will not mention his name here (nor link to his page), but the post in question, on his personal blog, was dated August 17,2014, and titled, “There are no living pterosaurs, and ‘ropen’ is a stupid fantasy.”

One of the web pages that caught this professor’s attention was my post “Bioluminescent Pterosaurs in Southwest Washington State.” We need to be clear about the differences between two professors, for Peter Beach has also taught biology but he has no doubt that modern pterosaurs live in the state of Washington and elsewhere.

Critic who Teaches Biology at the University of Minnesota, Morris

  • Is upset about the many web pages written by Jonathan Whitcomb
  • Proclaims himself an athiest
  • Has written a blog post very critical of Whitcomb’s writings
  • Teaches at the University of Minnesota, Morris

Peter Beach

  • Supports the modern-pterosaur idea shared by Whitcomb
  • Believes in the Bible and in a Divine creation
  • Wrote the foreword in the first edition of my book Searching for Ropens
  • Used to teach biology at a local college (He lives near Portland, OR)


Peter Beach explains flying light by Yakima River

Peter Beach interviewed at sighting location in southeast Washington state

Scientific Approach or Name Calling?

I would not label the online publishing of ideas by those with whom I disagree “dropping turds.” I never dreamed a biology professor would do that. Since one professor of biology (NOT Professor Beach), has referred to my online writings with that label, I will respond: Reason on ideas, if you would attract wise readers (feces attract flies and dung beetles, as most biologists will tell you). I am grateful that Professor Peter Beach is infinitely more kind than that other professor of biology.

From the first two pages of the introduction in the third edition of my Searching for Ropens and Finding God:

Responding to a strange idea by negatively labeling its advocate—that can blind us or at least blur the border between truth and error, even if our concept is better. When in human history has one person always been wrong? And when one pearl is found in the mud of an old oyster bed, expect another.

. . . If each of us listens more thoughtfully to those with whom we have disagreed in the past, what an accomplishment! This is not a “how to win friends” book, yet I will continue to keep that concept in mind as I write; please keep it in mind as you read. Each of us needs to listen—to learn to listen much better, for some of us.

The living-pterosaur critic did some searching online, apparently, and said, “There isn’t any evidence. There’s just one fanatic.” He then pointed out that many of the web pages were written by me. He might have hit closer to the target if he had said “one fanatic writer,” however, for although I seem to have written far more on this subject than anyone else, as an investigator of living-pterosaur sightings I am hardly alone.

I have several associates, including Professor Peter Beach and Milt Marcy, who fully agree with the concept of modern living pterosaurs. In addition, we have several American explorers who have searched remote jungles in Papua New Guinea, looking for those elusive nocturnal flying creatures. Yet we have much more: countless eyewitnesses, from around the world, who have seen these wonderful animals. I have estimated that between 7 million and 128 million persons now living, at some time in their lives and somewhere on this planet, have seen a living pterosaur. Call me a “fanatic,” if you like, but I have explained those number on pages 304-305 of my book Searching for Ropens and Finding God. Regardless of how some persons label me, and regardless of how critics may cry out that I have exaggerated with “between 7 million and 128 million,” I am not alone.



No “Ropen Myth” in Washington State

. . . it was in the late morning . . . [in late May of 2010].  My wife and I were coming back from . . . on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.  At the time we lived in the Portland Oregon area, and we were driving back west on I-84 to get home.

. . . coming left to right across the highway about 100 yards (give or take) in front of us came the most odd looking thing I have ever seen flying.  My wife and I both immediately said “what was that?”   It was flying pretty low to the ground probably only about 30 feet or so off the ground, and we only had about 2 seconds of visual on it . . .

It had a longer neck, crested head, big curved wings that connected at the back of the body, and a long tail.  Out of all those things the tail is what really stood out to me.  The tail was longer then the animals whole body from tip of head to base of tail. . . .


Pterosaur Sighting in North Carolina

Universal extinction is the assumption, in Western culture, regarding pterosaurs, so when somebody reports a pterosaur sighting in Raleigh, North Carolina, we can expect objections from skeptics. That’s what we got earlier this year, on a musicians’ forum called “The Gear Page.” The sighting was around March 24, 2013:

Ok… so I saw a Pterodactyl up close tonight. Not joking. . . .

I was driving along on I-540 in Raleigh at sundown tonight, cruising at about 70 mph, heading to my weekly jam session with my buddy. All of a sudden I see the HUGE bird looking thing fly across the overpass I was on, maybe 20-25 feet in front of my car and about 7 or 8 feet off the ground. . . .

. . . it had an enormous pointed beak, with a pointed top of its head. . . . the wingspan was probably about 5-6 feet . . . bony wing structure ending in points (almost like sails) with what looked like small claws in the middle . . . the body looked like greyish fur or dark skin. . . .

The eyewitness also reported what appeared to be two legs that were held out behind the creature and a long tail that had “a spade at the end.” Perhaps the most critical factor in the observation was that the legs were separate from the long tail that had a structure at its end, for that suggests a non-extinct Rhamphorhynchus-type pterosaur.


Interstate-540 highway near Raleigh, North Carolina --- photograph by Dougtone

Highway I-540 near Raleigh, N.C. – photo by Dougtone


Remark by a Critic-Skeptic

More than likely what your brain remembers that you saw, is not what [occurred] in reality. . . . [Eyewitnesses] are the most unreliable source of information that I know of.

I understand that eyewitnesses sometimes appear to remember one or more details that turn out to be completely wrong; in fact, this is common. I myself have encountered that human mental weakness after answering police questions about my observations of a man who was running away from the scene of a homicide in Pasadena, California, many years ago. After that, and after other personal experiences with misinterpretations, I have learned to be more careful about drawing conclusions about what I remember about an experience.

But the skeptic who made the above remark appears to be unaware of a human weakness that has even greater potential for error than eyewitness error: interpreting another person’s experience according to our own pre-conceived assumptions.

What is Even More Unreliable Than Eyewitness Testimony?

To best understand this problem, let’s examine what can happen with eyewitness error. We’ll use a true-life example from years ago, in a usually peaceful neighborhood, not in North Carolina, in Long Beach, California. I don’t recall all the details, but what I add does not change any relevant principle: In the basics, this really happened, although it has no direct relationship to any pterodactyl sighting.

Brad brought his daughter home from high school one afternoon and walked with her into the house; she was crying, obviously upset about something. They soon left, leaving the house with nobody home.

Later that day, Brad returned but entered through the back door, or at least entered where the back door used to be. He called the police to report the door that had been broken down. The police officer was embarrassed in answering the report. Here’s why:

While Brad was gone, a neighbor had reported to the police that a strange man had taken a young lady captive at gun point, taking the girl into that house. You know the rest.

So what happened in the mind of the eyewitness? He saw a man, with something in his hand, walking with a young lady who was in tears. The eyewitness unconsciously used his imagination to fill in the appearance of a gun, or saw only just enough that he believed that it could have been a gun. Also critical in this misunderstanding, he did not recognize that the man was his neighbor, not a stranger to the neighborhood. If he had recognized the man as father to the young lady, the eyewitness would not have allowed his imagination to run wild.

But what about the police officer who received the report? Would it have been appropriate for him to assume that no gun was involved? Of course police officers must be prepared for the worst and respond to that kind of report.

What if a police officer received a report of a man with a gun, a man who had a Nazi swastika emblem on his shirt? If the police officer had been raised from childhood with the believe that all Nazis had become extinct in 1945, would that justify ignoring the report and assuming there was no gun involved? This reveals another weakness in reasoning.

What is less reliable than eyewitness testimony? It’s imagining that somebody did not experience what was described because it does not fit well into the assumptions of the person who received the report. Changing a report to be more in harmony with our own assumptions is far more likely to result in errors than reporting a personal experience.

Both the eyewitness and the one receiving the report are human. Both are subject to the human weakness of mentally manipulating what is experienced to become more harmonious with deeply held assumptions. The different between these two persons is that the eyewitness directly experienced what was reported; the other person has no direct experience, only the report and his imagination.

Changing details in a report of another person’s experience is like looking out a window smeared with rain drops and observing what is happening in the living room of your neighbor’s house across the street. You do so by looking through two windows that are both smeared by rain drops. The eyewitness, on the other hand, looks through only one window smeared with rain drops. Beware of trying to peer into another person’s mind to manipulate things to harmonize with your own assumptions.


Why Pterosaur Extinction may be Wrong

At about sundown, but with sufficient light, on March 23, 2013, the eyewitness . . . was driving on the I-540, in or near Raleigh, North Carolina, when he had his encounter.

Little Known Pterodactyl Sightings

I saw [it] in October 2009 in Charlotte, NC . . . it was at night. I was standing outside my car on the phone when I saw the creature emerge directly over the three-story building I was standing next to. . . . It looked like what I had seen in a Jurassic Park movie . . . [I got] my cousin, who was in my passenger seat, out the car so I didn’t see it alone. He did . . . I know what we saw. [North Carolina pterosaur sighting in Live Pterodactyl blog]


Pterosaur Sightings and Statistics

Extreme Bias Against Living Pterosaurs

Since the two ropen expeditions of 2004 (on Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea), a few biologists and non-biologists have written about investigations of pterosaur sightings . . . very few. But many of those writings have been dismissive, without any admission that the extinction concept itself should be examined. A few of their writings may have mentioned or implied that religious bias influenced those who searched for living pterosaurs and for eyewitnesses. I don’t recall any critic who mentioned or implied that those who support standard models of extinction may have bias of their own.

Survey of Biology Professors

In a recent survey of biology professors in two universities in the western USA, regarding reports of sightings of apparent pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea, the first two responses were as follows:

  1. “Pterosaurs are extinct and have been for 10s of millions of years. Period.”
  2. “I would say that I’m between 1-5” (on a scale of 0-100 for an extant pterosaur).

The survey is still in an early stage, with many other university biology faculty members needing to be included. As of late Feb 1, 2013, about 5% have responded.

Extinction Concept

Before the twenty-first century, when had anybody done any research on the pterosaur-extinction concept itself? I’ve communicated with several paleontologists, over the past nine years, but not one of them has mentioned or even hinted at the existence of any investigation of the pterosaur-extinction concept. It’s been taken for granted as an axiom for about two hundred years, and has served an apparently useful purpose; indeed, dinosaur and pterosaur extinction has been foundational to Darwin’s writings and modern standard models of biology.

My associates and I have challenged that extinction dogma for years. Those professors who have criticized out conclusions have not addressed extinction itself, preferring to dismiss us without answering that challenge. To be precise, “extinct . . . Period.”

Mathematics and Clear Thinking About Pterosaur Sightings

Let’s apply probability to the two responses of those two biologists who evaluated the possibility of the existence of a living pterosaur. The first professor gave the probability 0%; the second, about 3%. That averages 1.5%. But those two professors appear to have been completely ignorant of the detailed eyewitness sighting reports that have been analyzed over the past nine years, 128 of which have been deemed credible enough to deserve analysis.

I chose those 128 reports because each of them appeared to me to have been probably from an encounter with a living pterosaur. In other words, not one of those 128 sightings was less than 51% in probability of being from an appearance of a living pterosaur. But of course, that is my opinion, and my opinion is not highly regarded among many scientists. So what can be done?

Take the average evaluation of those two biology professors, for a start. Apply mathematically those 128 reports, but use the skeptical 1.5% rather than my own much higher estimates. The probability that none of those 128 sightings was from a living pterosaur is only about 14%. In other words, from a skeptical point of view it is about 86% likely that a living pterosaur was observed. The math is simple, when a scientific calculator is used: 98.5%^128 comes to about 14.4%.

I suggest that the skeptical point of view is based on an extreme bias in favor of the universal-extinction dogma regarding dinosaurs and pterosaurs. When that extreme bias is properly taken into consideration, the 128 sightings make it practically impossible that not one of them was an encounter with a modern living pterosaur.


Pterosaur Sightings – Not Extinct

In Searching for Ropens, I wrote, “Since no researcher in Europe [when fossils were first being discovered] had any knowledge of living creatures similar to the fossils, it was  assumed that they were all extinct. The key word is ‘assumed.’. . if only 1% of the population of Western Europe, in the late 18th Century, had . . . [seen] living pterosaurs, the universal-pterosaur-extinction notion would never have gotten started.” (second edition, page 237)

Pterosaur Sighting in Hawaii

I looked up and saw the Pterodactyl flying (gliding) from the direction of the Koolaus

Pterosaur Wingspan

Hoaxers could not have had any major influence if they had emphasized giant sizes, for the wingspan estimates show a fairly gradual decline in numbers of sightings as the wingspan increases, beginning with a size similar to that of large birds.

Television Show on Pterosaur Sightings

I wonder what the natives think of that Western idea, what those eyewitnesses in Papua New Guinea think about the universal-pterosaur-extinction assumption.


Why do I Believe in Live Pterosaurs?

Sometimes I get a question like, “Have you ever seen a living pterosaur?” (No I haven’t, at least through January 14, 2013.) I believe a more useful question, for all of us, is “Why do you believe in live pterosaurs?” It seems like a simple question; but a reasonable answer from me—that requires considerable explaining. I’ll try to keep it reasonably short.

Extinction Indoctrination

Over many years, I have learned for myself that in my own United States of America we are bombarded, from before kindergarten to after college, by declarations of dinosaur and pterosaur extinction, and I have also learned that the universal extinction dogma is not based on scientific testing: It’s only an assumption.

But when I have gotten into a prolonged discussion with a paleontologist, it usually results in some kind of admission, from the fossil expert, that it is possible that an extant species of pterosaur may still be around somewhere; nevertheless paleontologists in general will consider it extremely unlikely and leave the subject with no desire to investigate the eyewitness reports I have received.

How rare is the person in a Western society who believes in pterosaur extinct because of objective evaluation of two points of view! The New Britain short-tailed pterosaur, that flies in daylight in the interior of that island, could be more common.

Most non-scientists assume that all of those flying creatures are extinct because the idea is so commonly proclaimed, as if it were a scientific fact beyond doubt.

Most scientists may believe it because it is a long-standing tradition, with apparently nobody ever contradicting universal pterosaur extinction. Off hand, I know of only one scientist who has approached this subject objectively, but because he chose to believe in the literal interpretation of eyewitness reports, skeptics then assumed he was biased in his choice; some of his writings have therefore been under a pen name.

To the point, there is no scientific test for determining pterosaur extinction. (In fact there’s no scientific test for determining the extinction for any species.)

That means the idea that all species of pterosaurs are extinct, all types that have ever lived on this planet are no longer living—that idea is so extreme that it requires extreme evidence to justify generations of proclamations about extinction. No such extreme evidence has come forward.

Eyewitnesses of Pterosaurs

Modern reports of apparent pterosaurs are similar to ancient reports of flying dragons, with a critical difference: Cryptozoologists like myself (we are extremely rare) interview eyewitnesses with questions that test whether or not an actual pterosaur was observed; in ancient history, even the most objective investigators had limited knowledge of pterosaur fossils, at least compared with modern cryptozoologists who specialize in pterosaurs.

Before the close of 2012, I added more eyewitness reports to the compilation of credible reports that had been analyzed the previous year. I then analyzed the data, which came from 128 sightings from around the world. Three independent factors eliminated any potential contamination from hoaxes, with clear indications that hoaxes could not have played any significant part (few if any hoaxes were involved).

How were those sighting reports chosen? Each one I deemed likely to have been an observation of an extant pterosaur, at least more likely than not. That brings up the subject of probability.

Probability of Modern Pterosaurs

I believe beyond any reasonable doubt that some pterosaurs live in this wonderful world of ours. If I were a member of a jury in a criminal case, and had that same surety of belief, when called upon to pronounce a sentence that would result in taking the life of the accused I would not hesitate in casting my vote. That requires an explanation.

Part of the explanation, for the sake of those who prefer something more tangible than my feelings, relates to probability. The 128 sighting reports I chose because each one I deemed to be at least 51% likely to have been from observing a living pterosaur. For simplicity, what does that say for all 128 sightings? If each one was judged only 50% likely to have been a living pterosaur, what is the probability that none of them were from living pterosaurs? Practically zero.

What if a hundred of the sightings were thrown out? With 28 sightings, each with a 50% chance of being a pterosaur, what’s the chance that not one of those 28 was a sighting of a living pterosaur? Not even one chance in 100 million. That’s basic mathematics (1/2 to the power of 28).

I realize that a skeptic may declare that I am biased and incapable of making a reasonable estimate of probabilities of a sighting being from an actual pterosaur. But what if I am so biased that my 50% estimate for each sighting is actually only 5%, that an objective estimate would make it a 95% probability that a report was from some cause other than a pterosaur? Even with that extreme manipulation of my estimates, the probability that not one of the 128 reports were from any real pterosaur would be less than one chance in 500 . . . horrible odds for universal extinction of pterosaurs.

But the 50%  and 5% individual-estimates are for simplicity. I actually believe some of the sighting reports to be more than 90% probable to have been from living pterosaurs. The 1944 sighting by Duane Hodgkinson (mainland New Guinea) is one example. If all but the 8 most likely reports were eliminated, the probability that none of those 8 came from an encounter with an extant pterosaur would still be quite remote (and how could any objective scientist completely reject those 120 less-conclusive reports?).

Sample of Part of the Data

The following image shows only a small part of the data that was collected from the 128 sighting reports:

The first 24 pterosaur sighting reports, with details like probability of feathers, long tail (y/n), head crest, color, tail straight, tail flange, weather, etc

Click on the above image to see details on what information was gathered (shown in part)


Modern Flying Dragons

“If we pursue the history of the investigation of pterosaurs . . . there is a natural link in our minds with the myths and legends of dragons.” [from the paleontology book The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs, by Peter Wellnhofer]


Pterosaur Size

Since late 2003, I have examined many eyewitness reports of these flying creatures, and the latest compilation of data gives us a remarkable insight into wingspan estimates . . .


Bird Carries off a Baby . . . Hoax

In Mont-Royal Park, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, a large bird of prey swoops down to pick up a small toddler who is sitting just eighteen feet or so from his mother . . . or so it appears in a video that was posted on Youtube on December 17, 2012.

The terrifying encounter never actually happened, however. The next day, an animation college in Quebec admitted that a few students had created the deception, using two computer 3D models: a bird and a baby.

As of December 29, that Youtube video had 40 million viewers, surpassing the goal of the creators of the hoax: to make a popular video. But it may have created a problem that could take some time to solve, for maybe a million viewers or so may still be unaware of the announcement that it was a hoax.

It reminds me of the War of the Worlds radio broadcast of 1938, in which many listeners in the United States heard what appeared to be a long news account of an invasion from aliens, Martians to be precise. About 6-20 Million Americans heard that broadcast, although perhaps only 15% to 25% believed that there was an invasion. That radio broadcast was a reading of a fictional story, a reading by Orson Welles.

Criticism of the Hoax Hypothesis

Soon after I brought up the subject of contradictory shadow directions in the video, I received a response from another Youtube viewer, somebody who had not yet learned about the announcement of the hoax:

“I don’t know what you mean. I’ve watched the video again and all shadows (trees, people, eagle) clearly point to the same direction. I’ve seen this happen to animals much larger than this baby was and since the video doesn’t seem fake to me. people even commented about how it was shown in a Canadian news report, but I guess you all wanna believe what you want. feel free to do so, I think it’s real until someone proves me wrong, which wouldn’t be a big deal for me. we all make errors..even eagles”

Part of what prevented that person from taking my idea seriously was my lack of details in explaining the shadows. This deserves a little explanation. Just watching through the video (at normal speed) does not help, for the viewer needs to stop where the right side of the meadow appears. Otherwise that scene flashes through our view too quickly to notice any shadows.

Another Youtuber viewer was set on the idea that there is no problem with any shadows in the video:

“Need to look again one tree is on a hill an the shadow is in the same direction as the one in the foreground,  just the hill makes it look that way. Learn a bit LOL”

I did learn something, but it was different from what that person would guess: Many Youtube viewers (including this person) do not comprehend new ideas when they read words, at least compared with when they look at images.

Problem with Shadows

still image from the Youtube video "Golden Eagle Snatches Kid" - it shows shadows

On the right side of the park, shadows fall to the left


Shadows in middle of park

In the middle of the meadow, shadows continue to fall to the left

As the camera pans moderately far across the meadow, the shadows indicate the sun is on the right. As it gets to the part of the meadow where the “baby” is grabbed by the “eagle,” then shadows suddenly show something very different: The sun seems to be on the left.

This still image from the video shows shadows in very different directions

This frame of the video proves major tampering took place

When one frame of a standard home video shows shadows going in almost opposite directions, there is a problem. In this video, a few frames show this weird appearance of shadow contradiction.


On the left side of meadow, shadows fall to the right

Just a little further to the left, it is obvious how the shadows fall: to the right

The shadow problem shown above add a bit of mystery still, for why would the animators have needed to combine two images of the park? I would have thought there would be no need for altering the appearance of this meadow, for they were adding two animation models onto the background, which normally requires only limited (if any) change in the background.


Did a Bird Grab a Baby?

Other indications of hoax involve the actions or inactions of persons shown. One person walking by the scene of the apparent attack pays no attention except to look in the direction of the videographer. The mother does not even notice the large bird as it shoots towards her and her baby.

Youtube Eagle Video Hoax

The video showing a bird grabbing a baby was a hoax, a convincing imitation of a home video, a convincing portrayal of a large bird of prey, during its flight near the ground, in a park in Montreal, Canada, picking up a human child. Both bird and child were computer animation objects

Fake Bird Attacks Fake Baby

In one frame of the video, one of the bird’s wings has vanished. Also, the apparent voice of the camera operator seems off, for he says “wow” when the bird is flying in an ordinary way high up above the park, but when it flies much closer and low to the ground the camera operator says nothing.

Hornbill Bird Misidentification?

Somebody once suggested that some sighting reports of apparent pterosaurs were misidentifications of Hornbill birds. But what sightings? That skeptic made the same mistake as many other skeptics: throwing out generalizations rather than examining specific sighting reports.

Manta Ray = Desperation

I don’t accuse anybody of telling a lie or promoting somebody else’s lie through carelessness, and I don’t mention here the name of any critic of the literal, obvious interpretation of sightings of live pterosaurs; but something has been published recently, something that would make eyewitnesses appear like fools, and I will not stand by in silence. The misidentification of a Manta ray oceanic fish does not adequately explain any significant pterosaur sighting, not even one sighting that I have analyzed.

On the subject of sightings of extant pterosaurs (often called “pterodactyls” or “dinosaur birds” or “flying dinosaurs”) I have written more than any other author, to the best of my knowledge: three nonfiction books, a scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal of science (CRSQ), and over a thousand blog posts and web pages. Please consider the following.

I realize that I am one of countless nonfiction authors who write on countless subjects, and that I appear to some skeptics (in Western society) to be foolish in promoting modern pterosaurs. But I have probably had more access to recent reports from the eyewitnesses (worldwide), over the past nine years, than any other person on this planet.

The writer who suggested a leaping Manta ray fish as an explanation for “many” sightings appears to write from desperation. I know from experience that some sightings of apparent pterosaurs flying over the sea have been misidentifications of Frigate birds. But leaping fish? No!

Imagine yourself as an eyewitness. You are on an island, near the coast but not on the beach. You see two apparent pterodactyls flying inland from the direction of the sea. They are flying in close formation, with slow flapping of wings, about 40-100 feet above the land. You make a quick sketch, being a talented artist, and look over the image. It shows two long-tailed pterosaurs with moderately long necks, pointed head crests, and pointed beaks. Each tail has a structure at the end, with something like hair at the tail end. Each wing has a leg-like structure with something like claws resembling feet at the end of each leg. Good! It resembles what you had observed, to the best of your memory.

Sketch by eyewitness Eskin Kuhn, a U. S. Marine in 1971

But somebody notices a similarity between the wing shape and the general shape of the Manta ray fish. You are then hit by the words of a skeptic who dismisses your sighting as a misidentification of a fish jumping out of the water. How insulting! Nonetheless, how easy it is to repudiate the skeptic’s words!

The critic says nothing about the end of the tail or any other characteristic of the sketch, except what may have some correlation to something on a Manta ray. The general wing shape is emphasized, but the skeptic’s reasoning is left naked to examination; critical illness cannot be hidden by sophistry.

Before proceeding with the postmortem of the Manta ray conjecture, let’s consider the sighting above, by the real person Eskin C. Kuhn, who has submitted his real name to be attached to his sketch. He observed the two flying creatures, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on a clear day in 1971, as they were flying together. It was not one fish jumping out of the water; it was two “pterodactyls” flying inland. It was not a Manta ray leaping five to ten feet out of the water; it was two flying creatures flying 40-100 feet high, from the direction of the sea.

Now for the post mortem:

The unnamed critic who imagines leaping Manta rays is aware of Kuhn’s sketch. In fact he uses that sketch as if evidence for his jumping fish conjecture. So why become fixated on one aspect of the sketch: the general similarity in shape to a Manta ray?

What other explanation is there than the following? The skeptic implies that Mr. Kuhn was mistaken about almost everything, but that he was correct about the general shape of the wings. How unscientific! How narrow the focus! How blind to the obvious! It would be must more reasonable to imagine that the general wing shape (resembling in some way the shape of a Manta ray) is incorrect but that at least one aspect of the “pterodactyl” appearance is correct.

To put this in a different setting, consider this: Could the Challenger Shuttle disaster of 1986 have been a misunderstanding? Could it have been just from some spectators watching a fireworks display in Jacksonville, Florida? Why pretend that the mission control center never existed? Why pretend that those astronauts were unreal? Why pretend that almost everything in reports of live pterosaurs is a misunderstanding, that the only thing correct about the reports are those few details that might resemble something about a Manta ray?

How desperate the position of any critic who would suggest a Manta ray jumping into the air as an explanation for the countless worldwide sightings of living pterosaurs! We need more clear thinking with reports of apparent living pterosaurs. How we need clear thinking!

Fear not the occasional shock of revolutionary scientific discovery. We have no need for desperation in protecting old axioms, including the extinction dogma tied to a particular origin philosophy. But that’s another subject.

Manta Ray Fish Fallacy

Drinnon tries to squeeze the general shape of the Manta ray’s body into sighting reports of pterosaurs. There is where the leaping fish falls flat.

Hornbill Bird Misidentification?

It is one thing to single out a particular sighting that may have been a Hornbill misidentification, then point out that it was not a living pterosaur. It is quite another, however, to fail to single out any particular sighting, then speculate that sightings in general are misidentifications.

Manta Rays or Modern Pterosaurs?

. . . the sighting of two apparent pterosaurs was in a CITY, not in a boat. And he saw two of the creatures flying together. That eliminates that sighting regarding Manta rays that leap out of the sea . . .